Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas Music! (and a giveaway!)

Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit more than Christmas music.  It's just happy!  You don't really hear of any Christmas songs lamenting about a boy and girl breaking up who are "never ever ever getting back together".

Here are some of my favorite Christmas CD's (new and old) to get you in the Christmas spirit!  (Read till the end because I'm giving away 3 of these CD's!!!)


1. "Christmas: God With Us" by Jeremy Camp

This is Jeremy Camp's first Christmas album.  He mixes some classic Christmas songs with some original songs all with a fresh approach to the arrangements.

2. "Noel" by Josh Wilson
You might not recognize the name Josh Wilson, but if you've listened to Christian radio you've certainly recognized his songs such as "Savior Please" and "Before the Morning".  This will definitely be one you'll want to add to your Christmas music rotation.

3. "We Have a Savior" by Hillsong
Hillsong is THE name in worship music and now they're making a name for themselves in Christmas music!  How funny to think that while we're decking the halls here in America, this Australian band is in the middle of summer!  Everything you love about Hillsong shines through in their first Christmas album in 7 years.  What a great way to keep our hearts and minds focused on the true meaning of Christmas.

4. "Christmas in Diverse City" by Tobymac
Ahhh Tobymac.  I have been a huge Toby fan since his DCTalk days.  (We won't mention how I used to hang around his tour bus after his concerts. Shh!!!)  Toby takes some Christmas classics and puts his Diverse City twist to it to make it.  If you're a Tobymac fan, you've definitely got to add this to your Christmas collection.

5. "Have a Fancy Yancy Christmas" by Yancy
Yancy is the real deal!  Growing up a children's pastor kid, she knows first-hand how to connect to kids and her music doesn't disappoint.  She takes biblical truths and sets them to fun, rockin' tunes that even YOU will be jamming out to!  This is one kid CD that you won't mind listening to over and over.

6. Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey

Judge me all you want but the girl can SANG!  And "sanging" Christmas music on top of that just doesn't get any better!  She rocks "Oh Holy Night" like no one's business!  This is a classic Christmas album!

7. Holiday by Crystal Lewis

I grew up loving Crystal Lewis.  Her voice is unmistakable.  I've seen her perform a few times and all she does is open her mouth and that voice comes out!  THAT'S when you know someone's a for real singer...when they make it look easy!  You've got to check out her spin on some favorite Christmas classics.

8. Glory in the Highest by Chris Tomlin

Last year at our church's Christmas Eve service, our worship leader and one of the singers sang this beautiful folksy song called Winter Snow that talked about how Jesus came to Earth as quiet and gentle as snow.  It was beautiful so I immediately went home and searched for it and it was, of course, Chris Tomlin.  By far, one of my favorite Christmas songs!

9. Christmas by Michael Buble
Smooth as velvet is Michael's voice.  He makes the old Christmas classics seem as though you're hearing them for the first time.  Such a great CD to have playing in the background of your family Christmas get togethers.

10. Joy by Steven Curtis Chapman
I still can't get it in my mind that Steven Curtis Chapman is a grandfather!  I mean, he was the IT Christian singer growing up.  If he's getting old, guess that means I am too!  But he hasn't lost a beat when it comes to music!  A few Christmas classics, some SCC originals, and even a Happy New Year song.

Now the good part!  I am giving away a copy of the first 3 CD's in my list: "Christmas: God With Us" by Jeremy Camp, "Noel" by Josh Wilson, and "We Have a Savior" by Hillsong.  All you gotta do is leave me a comment for which one you want to win.  So if you want to win all three, leave me three comments.  Just make sure you put the CD title or singer's name in your comment so I know which one you want.  Simple as that.  The catch is this is a very short giveaway.  I will draw the winners at 10:00 pm eastern time on Tuesday, November 20, 2012.  U.S. & Canada addresses only.

I was provided with a copy of "Christmas: God With Us", "Noel", and "We Have a Savior" to review and give away in exchange for my opinions.

This is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at The Broke & Bookish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Great Christmas Gift!

Ok, so I know I'm a little late to the Cirque Du Soleil rage.  I've seen many advertisements for it, heard the glowing reports from friends who had seen it and every time I've passed by the big Cirque tent in my town, I've longed to ooh and ahh over it like everyone else.

The pricey tickets were one thing that kept me back.  I just couldn't justify paying that much to see adults swing from the rafters.

So when I was provided with tickets to Cirque's lastest show, Totem, I jumped at the chance! And let me tell you it did NOT disappoint!

For me to try and tell you how awesome it was will fall short.  I mean, I could tell you about the little chinese girls who rode unicycles and flipped bowls onto their head, the ladies who twirled blankets with their hands and feet or about the boy & girl who flirted with each other while twisting and turning on a trapeze.  But I doubt you are blown away by that.

Photos credit: Pouya Dianat/Cirque du Soleil
You just have to see it!

It's the perfect date night especially since the seats are so close together...you are practically sitting in his lap :)

It's good for a family outing too.  I had a friend ask about taking her older elementary daughter to see it.  My initial response is that it would be fine.  There were a couple scenes that were "romantic"...where a man and woman were performing together and they might carress each other or hold each other.  It didn't feel dirty or nasty to me mainly because the acrobatics was the primary focus.  Any romance was an afterthought.   There were some very funny parts that kids would love!
Photo credit: Pouya Dianat/Cirque du Soleil

It makes for a late night.  It was about 2 1/2 hours and that includes a 30 minute intermission (which by the say I have a funny story about...read to the end!)

If you're still looking for ideas for Christmas gifts, you can not go wrong with Totem tickets!

Ok, my funny story.  At the intermission, I get up to go to the restroom.  Unfortunately it's port-a-potties.  But they are slightly nicer than the typical port-a-potty (if that's possible).  Anyways, as I'm waiting in line with a few hundred of my closest friends, one of the potties open up and a man AND a woman walk out of ONE potty.  They are disheveled looking and smiling.  Those of us in line turn our heads thinking "Did we just see that?"  Why ANYONE would want to do THAT in a port-a-potty is beyond me!!

I was provided with 2 tickets from 43KIX Atlanta.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Photo Session

I was recently contacted by local photographer Ellie Kurz of Dearly Loved Photography to do a head shot session.  It was definitely awkward being photographed but Ellie made me feel so comfortable and at ease.  Guess I know how Beyonce feels!  Hahaha!!

Check out some of the shots from the session:

You've got to check her work at her website Dearly Loved Photography.

Dearly Loved Photography provided me with the photo session, but the opinions are mine.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Besides being a teacher, the other thing I really wanted to do with my life was be a singer.  Like a famous singer.  Touring.  Performing.

That didn't happen.

I think one reason I wanted to be a singer is because music really connects to my soul.  When a song speaks to an exact situation I'm going through, the tears well up.  Other times, it will bubble up energy and joy inside of me that I can't contain and end up dancing around my room.

Music is also one of the strongest ways I connect with God.  When I don't know what to pray, it is music I turn to to draw me closer to Him.

One of my favorites is Hillsong.  Their new album, Cornerstone, came out this summer.  It is their 21st live recording and it does not not disappoint!  Interestingly, the title track, Cornerstone, was written out of response to a horrendous tragedy that took place in Norway last summer.

In a day and age when earthquakes and fires are rampant and people can't even go to the movies for fear of their life, it's so reassuring that Christ is the ultimate cornerstone.  The title track, Cornerstone, reiterates this when it says:

Christ alone
Weak made strong
in the Savior's love
Through the storm
He is Lord
Lord of all.

The whole album is full of confirmation that our only hope is Christ.  The song titles alone would appeal to anyone who is struggling with feeling lost in this world: "Hope of the World", "Grace Abounds", and "Love Knows No End" are just a few.

Check out the trailer

Merge PR provided me with a copy of the album to review, but the heartfelt opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Mantle

I love decorating!  I'm not very good at it, but if I could I would decorate for every holiday...New Years, July 4th, Christmas and everything in between.

So I decided to copy one of the latest decorating crazes right now and that's decorating your mantle.  I decided to go with a beachy theme since THAT is the essence of summer for me.

Usually I have the black mirror, some candles, and the glass hurricanes (on the left).

I added the sea glass from Michael's...

put some sand and seashells in the hurricanes...

...the open wood frame is from Hobby Lobby.  I stapled twine to the back and got little clothespins to attach the shells.

The mason jars were my own.  The tall blue jar was from Kirklands and I can' remember where the little blue one was from.

Lastly, this coral picture holder is from Kohls' clearance section.

So what are some of your decorating tips?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Travel Ideas With Kids

I recently took an 8 hour road trip with my sister and her kids, 3 year old and 6 year old.  Did you catch that?  EIGHT hours on the road with a THREE and SIX year old.  I'm affectionately known in my family as "Aunt FunTime" so I figured I'd better have some tricks up my sleeve!

I'm guest posting today over at Cumming Local, so head on over to find out what my "tricks" were!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Hello fellow stumblers!

I've got some exciting news that will really benefit Saturday Stumbles.  My good friend and writer extraordinnaire, Jessie Weaver from Vanderbilt Wife, will be the new host of Saturday Stumbles!  She's been a faithful linker every week!

While I've really enjoyed hosting this linky, I know that at times I've not given it the attention it needs.  Jessie will really be able to do that!

Please try to control your tears.  I'll still be an avid reader and linker when I can. 

Thank you to those of you who have been faithful stumblers!  I look forward to your links each weekend and will continue to look forward to them...just at a different home :)

So let's get to stumbling!

Interesting article about life at home during wartime.

My mouth is drooling at this!

Such a great list!  It's coming up, ya know!

So go ahead and link up below!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Alternative Easter Egg Hunt: Painting

If you've been around Simply Staci long enough, you know that I like to spice up the traditional Easter egg hunts.  There's been leggos, puzzles, and crafts.

Each year, it gets a little more difficult to think of something new, but this year we did paintings!

In each egg, I put stickers of each letter of the kids' names.  Then I put various stickers of hobbies they were into.

Each kid was then given an 8 1/2 " by 11" canvas where they placed all their stickers. 

Once they were in place, they painted all over it.  This was hard for the kids to understand.  They really liked the stickers and didn't want to "mess them up" by painting over them.
After the canvas was painted, they removed the stickers to reveal their masterpiece!

Ok, so this is mine, but look how purty!  But here's a finished product:
They really enjoyed it and had a good time!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

This has been a whirlwind week for me which sadly has resulted in no stumbles. I was invited to a Nordstrom Rack tweet up where we were pampered and then shopped till we dropped. Then it was a co-worker's wedding shower. Next was the Dove Awards!! My best friend Amanda I and got tickets. Great tickets! We were like 5th row from the stage. (It will be televised Tuesday, April 26 on Gospel Music Channel.  Look for us!)  Then Friday night was babysitting the niece and nephew where we created an art gallery, popped popcorn, and watched Toy Story 3.

So what did you stumble? I'd love to read what you found! Link up below!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Happy weekend fellow stumblers! Hope you had a good week and an even better weekend planned! We started state testing this week and it is just awful! It is 5 days of absolute torture. I just sit there staring at 26 kids for 2 hours. No reading, writing, napping, facebooking, pinning...NOTHING!

So bring on the weekend!!

Gospel ABC Scrapbook

Now, THIS is a scrapbook I can get on board with! I want to do this SOOO bad!

What Can You Make From a Plastic Lid?
Who knew there were so many possibilities from a stinkin' plastic lid??

Neighbor Christmas gift
Ok, don't write this off because it's Christmas.  This could easily be adapted for a hostess gift or really for any holiday.  So simple and cheap...and practical!

Link up below what you stumbled this week!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Happy Easter weekend!

"Oh praise the One who paid my debt!"

That's the true miracle of the Resurrection...that He took our place! Thank you Jesus!

Now, if Jesus was walking around in human form today, I have no doubt He'd eat at this place...(nice segue, huh??)

The 10 Commandments of Chic-Fil-A
Jon Acuff is a self proclaimed Chic-Fil-A expert and he is sharing the 10 Commandments of Chic-Fil-A. Funny!

Does Your Blog Have Clear Direction?
My answer to that question is...nope. I hate that, but it's the truth. You've probably noticed that I'm only posting Saturday Stumble posts. I'd rather not that be the case. Thank you to the few faithful SS linkers that consistently link up each week...even though I have no clear direction. I definitely need to think and chew on this post.

10 Things to do While Sitting in a Restaurant
I love this because it gives great ideas instead of plopping the iphone in front of them.

Praying in Color
What a neat concept to help children learn a different way to talk to God.

Alright friends, time to link up what you stumbled this week:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

IT'S SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(nuff said)

I have some serious plans of sleeping in, hanging out with friends, staying up late and getting my hair done. Believe me, I plan on taking all of these tasks very seriously :)

Why the World Will Never See Me As a Good Parent
This should be mandatory reading for all new parents.

A Sense of the Resurrection
My friend Amanda has done it again! This Easter, let your kids experience the Resurrection with their 5 senses. This is a must if you have young kids!

Pocket Full of Posies Party
This is just the dantiest little party ever! And I kid you not, but I have 2 back pockets that I ripped off an old pair of jeans that I've been dying to find something cute to do with. This is it!

Link up below what you stumbled this week!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Welcome to the weekend! Do you have any fun things planned? Looks like it's going to be a wet one here in Georgia this weekend, but we don't mind because it'll wash away some of this awful pollen!

A Pinterest PartyThis is on my to-do list at some point. It combines 2 of my favorite things: Pinterest and a party!

...and while we're on the topic of Pinterest...

10 Tips for Using Pinterest Well
Very practical advice on how to get the most out of Pinterest.

Easter, the Bunny, and MeI love this post about balancing the traditions of holidays with the true meaning.

A Guide to Finding Great Music
My friend Leigh lives in the music capital of the world...Nashville! She has some great tips on branching out of the mainstream artists to find other songs and musicians you might end up loving!

Join us and link up with posts that you found inspiring this week!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Top 'o the mornin' to ya lassies! [That's my bad attempt at an Irish accent]

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Thought I would "irish" it up today on the ole blog here...enjoy :)

Now, onto the stumbles...

On Dressing Up at Church
Amy brings up a great point on how dressing up or down for church.

12 Surprising Uses for Vicks VapoRub
From pets to paper cuts.  You have to read it to believe it!

Am I the only one who's never heard of this? These little googly eyes are taking over the world!!

Lessons from the Lorax
I love using a movie to teach lessons and this popular one teaches kids about how to recognize real food.

Built-In Gift Cards
A very creative way to attach your cards to your gifts.

We Give Books
This is the coolest idea ever!  Read a book online with your kids (free!) and then choose a charity that the website will donate a book to, as well.  Try it!

Wow...I had quite a few stumbles this week!  Can you top that?!?!  Link up below!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

I'm looking forward to a fun, but relaxing weekend. I've got plans to go to the zoo and then maybe a little girls night out...if certain girls would check their messages ;)

So let's get on to the stumbles...
Friends vs. How I Met Your Mother
Friends is, by far, my favorite show. Period. I have every episode on DVD and could probably quote it to you. I can not, however, get into How I Met Your Mother. I've tried to watch it on more than one occasion. But this comparison is funny!

Easy Layered Mexican Pizza

My friend Jen has created this easy dish. I can't wait to try it!

Box of Sunshine
This combines my love of gift giving with color coordinating!  I can't imagine how this would make someone's day if it showed up on their doorstep!

Photography tips
These are easy, basic tips that even I could do with my point and shoot camera!

Six lessons from NOT buying clothes
What started out as an experiment of not buying clothes for 3 months turned into over 2 years!  I have to admit, I don't think I could even do it for the 3 months, but the lessons learned are noteworthy.

Now I want to hear from you! What did you find that we just HAVE to see this week! Link up below!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Well howdy!  It's the weekend and I don't know about you, but I'm glad it's here!  This is the first full week I've worked in almost 3 weeks.  We had a 4 day weekend last week so working a full 5 days this week felt like an eternity.

Must Be Nice...
Things you never want to say to a stay at home mom.  Yikes!  Who would actually do that?!!?  I guess it happens more than I realize.

Favorite Things Party
You remember Oprah's "Favorite Things" episodes right?  Well this party is based on that same idea...such a fun thing to do with your girlfriends!

Alleviating Homework Headaches
This article is dead on!  As a teacher myself, I would hand this out to all my kids to give to their parents!  Such great advice.

Come link up what you found interesting this week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Welcome to the weekend!! Very much looking forward to just chillin' (like a villian!) Not so much looking forward to the papers I brought home to grade. Ugh.

Chore Chart & Allowance for Pre-schoolers
My friend Mary has a great idea to teach your little ones the value of money.

Is Whitney Houston in Heaven?
I was glued to the computer screen last weekend watching the Whitney Houston funeral. Yep, all 4 hours of it. Such a sad thing that happened to her. This is an interesting article that also addresses how the church handles things that Whitney struggled with.

Cure for Itchy Legs

My body (at the ripe old age of 35) has fallen victim to yet another travesty...dry, itchy legs. This has NEVER been a problem with me. Ever. So imagine my shock when a few weeks ago I noticed after working out that my legs had begun to itch something awful. I gave it some time and it never went away. There were no scars or rashes really, just a very bad need to itch my legs and only my legs. I racked my brain to figure out this new dilemma. Poison Ivy? Bug bites? Nothing made sense because it was only my legs and just the bottom part.

Well, when I ran across this post by The Pioneer Woman, it was as if the Heavens had parted and the angels broke out in the Hallelujah chorus. I've only tried it once but I'm liking the results already. Any advice from my fellow itchy leggers out there?

Guess I'm kind of light on the stumbles this week. Probably because I couldn't pull myself away from scratching my legs raw long enough to read many blogs this week. Hopefully I'll have more next week! So until then, I'll just read all the good ones you all found! Link up below!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Woo-hoo! Two days off of work making a 4 day weekend? Yep, I'll take it!

DIY Stainless Steel Makeover
Transform your ugly black dishwasher into that stainless steel one you've always wanted.

101 Fun Activities to Do With Your Child
What a fun list! Literally, there are 101 things listed here for you to do. Everything from writing and mailing a letter to someone special to visiting a nursing home or hospital.

Faux Brushed Nickel Letter Tutorial
Make cardboard look like brushed nickel.

E is for Explore!
I came across this site on Pinterest and found some great stuff to use in my class, but this would also be great for homeschooling.

When a Comment Breaks Your Heart
A raw look at the emotions of singleness...a topic I know all too well.

Come join the rest of us and link up below with what you think we just have to read!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Need a few last minute Valentines Day ideas?  I found some super simple ones that you could easily pull off this weekend in time for the big day!

101 Valentines Ideas under $5
These are great!  Here are just a couple:

If you don't really want to give out candy, there's Valentines ideas for glue sticks, scissors, straws, post-its and more!

These would make a really cute teacher treat :)

Subway art is all the rage right now.  It's just a cheap and really cute way to dress up your mantle, desk, dresser...just about anything!

A great alternate to all the candy.

Now it's your turn!  Check out my guidelines, then link up below:

Friday, February 03, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

So it's the weekend of the big game! Do you have Super Bowl plans? I'm not really that in to football (although you probably can't tell by this post as it is mostly Super Bowl links!), but I'll probably flip over to see the national anthem and half time show!

Speaking of the "big game", did you know that there are so many rules and regulations of what you can and can't say? It's crazy!
"Don't Use Super Bowl..."

...and even rules on hosting a party!
Church Super Bowl party

One of the local radio stations here in town wrote about what they can and can not say.

Here's a little something for the kids:
Games for the kiddos

And then, this one is totally random but I thought it was such a great idea!
Picture books on YouTube

Link up below and share what you've found this week!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Let's get right to it!

What teachers really want to tell parents
Could not agree more!

Tailg8 party
What a cute idea for birthday party if you're turning 8 years old!

This Is How We Met
A cute, new series starting February 1 where couples share their story of how they met. And if YOU want to be a part, check it out here.

Valentines Day Mantle
I love decorating and this is just classy and cute!

Come join us and link up below.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

We finally made it to the weekend!  It's supposed to be a rainy one here but I'll take a rainy weekend over no weekend any day!!

18 Things I Did in Childhood My Kids Won't Experience
A fun list that'll really take you back!

Nerdy Baby
Science art and gifts for your baby or nerdy friends!  Such cute stuff!  The science teacher in me loves this!

Why The Grass Can Be Greener for Singles
A beautiful post from my friend Leigh addressing singleness.

Denim pocket organizer

I actually have 2 denim pockets that I've been dying to do something with.  This may very well be it!

I'd love to see what you found stumble worthy this week! Check out the guidelines then link up below:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Sorry I was a little late getting Saturday Stumbles up this weekend. I was up till midnight last night finishing up a cake for a friend's little girl's first birthday! Cute, right? A winter wonderland themed party!

Taming your doll's hair
For all you moms out there that battle the tangled mess of doll hair, this post is the answer to your question. Get your doll's hair in the same condition as it was before you took it out of the box!

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe
I made this last week and absolutely loved it!

Ways to build friendships
A great read on some practical ways to build new friendships or strengthen the ones you already have.

10 Things You Should Never Tell Your Kids
We probably all grew up hearing those phrases like "because I said so". This article makes you think about the words you speak to your kids. While I don't necessarily agree with every part of it, it just makes you think before you randomly say something.

50 Things to Write About When You Have Writer's Block
Love this list! Just what I need to get me out of my rut!

Now it's your turn! Link up below with what you stumbled this week!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Saturday Stumbles

Welcome to 2012! Thank you so much for your support over the past year. I appreciate you faithful stumblers :)

Content Theft on Pinterest
A very interesting article on the proper way to "pin" on Pinterest

5 Day Mini Menu
If you're into freezer cooking, then hopefully you've met Once a Month Mom! She is the freezer cooking guru. Now she's come up with a mini version of her once a month cooking. Perfect for a single gal, like me :)

10 Specific Comments to Give Your Children
Something every parent should read.

Your turn to link up to the first Saturday Stumbles of 2012! Link up below!

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